There are so many things I could have blogged about this week…. Like the client who took too long to offer the perfect candidate and missed out on him… my fault apparently… or the candidate I’ve been chasing for a few months who finally agreed to meet with me, only to have her grand mother die and now she won’t return my calls… oh… and before you call me a callous, cold hearted slug, I happen to know from a mutual acquaintance that she doesn’t have any grand mothers left to fall off the perch… or Trump… or Australia’s cricket team… or how close Christmas is… etc. etc. etc.
What do you do when you discover that a candidate you represented to a client 5 months ago mystically appears on your LinkedIn feed…. you know…. The old congratulate Monty Python on their new job… and at the very client you represented them too?
This happened to me last week. After much discussion in the office, we decided I should give the client a call… as always names are changed in an attempt to protect the guilty… and the call went a little something like this.
Ring… ring (this happened more than twice, but to keep the narrative moving and to minimise word use I just thought I would restrict it to 2 rings… like ring… ring… got it?)
‘Hi Camilla… Craig Watson here from Watson Collard.’ Than I said nothing… silence… for what seemed like an age….
‘Oh… hi… Craig.’ She was choking on her words… she knew she’d been caught out. Time to go for the kill…
‘The reason for the call Camilla… is that I see Kevin Arnold has joined your business…’
‘Yes Craig… he… has… joined us.’ Wary now… looking for a way out.
‘And we represented Kevin Arnold to you 5 months ago. You are aware that in the terms we agreed that if you employ a candidate we represented to you within 12 months you are liable for the fee?’ Too smug?… too forceful?
‘No Craig I wasn’t aware of that.’ Let me just stop Camilla Barker-Poles right there for a moment… you see I am 100% sure she is lying… why? Well those of you who aren’t aware I recruit recruiters for other recruitment companies… Camilla Barker-Poles owns a recruitment agency… she has the exact same clause in her terms with her clients… how do I know? I’ve seen her terms.
‘Anyway…’ she continued. ‘We employed Kevin in a different role to what we originally interviewed him for.’
‘I should hope so.’ I replied. ‘From the email I have here in front of me you said he was not suited for role. You also said he wasn’t a good culture fit… what changed?’
The conversation went back and forth. Camilla Barker-Poles flat out refused to accept that she was responsible to pay me a fee and I was equally insistent that she was. The phone call deteriorated from there… it got ugly.
I sent Camilla an invoice… to date she hasn’t paid… or acknowledged the invoice.
I know I’m not alone in this situation, but what are you doing to prevent it happening… or when it does how are you handling it?
It is incumbent on all of us to ensure clients understand the terms they are signing. And then… when they breach them we must hold them to account. The fear of losing a client should not stop you from holding them to an agreement… should it?
And… to be honest… do you want to work with a client who has been caught out trying to defraud you of a legitimate fee anyway?